Tuesday, February 26, 2008


That's what I've been wanting to scream all day long. Actually, I have been. Oh my, this has just been a blast. We got to Colorado pretty late last night, and we woke up this morning and walked out of our hotel to this view:

I was so glad God let it snow for us during the night! What a beautiful sight to see. For this Texas girl, snow is a big deal. And I love snow when it covers everything and makes it so pretty...and then the temperature gets up into the 50s and is bright and sunny and the snow melts off by the end of the day. That's my favorite kind. Because let's be honest, I'd be really sad if I had to live in snow all the time. But THIS is amazing! The conference we are attending didn't start until late this afternoon, so Joel and I spent the day driving around and sightseeing. We just took in all the beauty as we drove through the Pike's Peak area, saw some adorable little towns nearby, and visited the Royal Gorge and Bridge. And it was a blessed time. Really. Joel and I spending that much time together in the car and actually enjoying it and each other's company is kind of like a miracle. Some of you married people have the gift of glorious togetherness in car traveling. We do not. So what a sweet gift that not only were we not ready to kill each other by the end of this sightseeing adventure, we actually have really enjoyed each other's presence. Quite a lot, in fact! I like that man. =) He's very cute. Speaking of his cuteness, this was his first time to be in Colorado, and I just loved watching his excitement and discovering with him all these places that are so beautiful. He couldn't hide his enjoyment at all, and I just loved it. I lost count how many times he pulled over on our scenic drive to take pictures. He led us on these adventures without being the least bit task-oriented, and I just loved the time we had to just be together, not be rushed, talk, and enjoy together this creation of God's that we don't normally get to see. I'm telling you, it has been WONDERFUL.

Please try to ignore Joel's "halo" in this next picture:

We did all kinds of goofy touristy things at this next place...the world's highest suspension bridge over the Royal Gorge:

The conference "we" are attending is a training event for a simulcast Focus on the Family will be doing in the fall for The Truth Project. If you haven't been through this Truth Project curriculum, well....you should. In my opinion, it's the best thing Focus on the Family has ever done. It's a DVD series/study that is being used in small groups and Sunday school-type classes in churches all over the country, and it's just amazing how relevant and powerful this ministry is. I'll let you check out the link to learn more. Or you can ask me questions anytime! I say "we" are attending because I am not quite committed in my attendance. I left out early tonight because my back has not been my friend lately and I needed to rest it instead of continuing to sit in extremely uncomfortable chairs. I plan to join Joel for what I can. Originally, I had planned to go very little, if at all, and instead lay around the hotel and read and relax and all that. But the opening session tonight got me so excited...I got highly energized about the purpose of the Truth Project and so want to be a part of the conference as much as I am able. To see the hundreds of people representing churches all over the country who are participating in The Truth Project and leading people to get involved in it is just so amazing. I really believe so many people's lives will be changed. I know they already have. But I think it's going to be really big. The whole idea of this study is that there are so many Christians who really are under attack in their beliefs and are starting to believe Satan's lies about life so much that they are really not living much differently than the non-believing world. So we need to learn (or re-learn) the basics of truth. Real truth. And it explores so many different facets of truth. It is basically a worldview curriculum, and the teaching is so clear and helpful. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. (Random note....we happened to run into two different people we knew from our church in Bartlesville. It was funny. For those Bville friends who read this, we walked in at the exact same time as Joe Kauffman. Quite ironic.)

We were able to visit Focus' bookstore, and if you know me, then you know that that was definitely my favorite part of the day. Conference attendees received a discount at the bookstore, and I was so giddy. I did pretty well though....we only left with a few books. One was a Bible Joel picked out for me. As our community group wives have been studying 1 Peter the last couple of months, I have used Joel's Bible a whole lot because it's a version that I haven't used before but that has brought lots of great new insights. So I started borrowing it on occasion to look up a verse or two in this translation that is evidently closer to the original Greek text. Then, I started using it a whole lot more, borrowing it almost every time I was studying the Bible. He has another Bible he uses, so he didn't mind too much. So after a while, I just decided to keep it for myself. Some might call this stealing. But I contend that it's not stealing if he knows who has it and how to ask for it if he needs it back. I knew he knew I had it, and I assumed he didn't mind. But he came up to me in the bookstore today and showed me what he decided I needed to have....it was the same Bible I've been 'borrowing" from him, only it is hot pink!!!! I actually started jumping up and down. Yes, there were people all around, and I'm sure they thought I was crazy. But I didn't care at all. I actually planted a big kiss on him. Yep, right there in Conservative-ville. I was so excited! I've never had such a pretty little Bible before! Y'all, it's PINK! Does my husband know me, or what?! I'm so in love with him.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Crazy (but fun) Week

Friday morning began a week-and-a-half that is surely my busiest in quite a while. But so many fun things have happened in the last few days and will be happening this week! I planned to take pictures at all of these fun things, but so far, I've forgotten every time. But anyway, on Friday I met my sweet friend Megan at a town about an hour away (at the halfway point between where we both live) and hung out for a good part of the day. Jonah went with me and was a great traveling buddy. We met at Starbucks and chatted for a long time while Jonah watched a few videos on his DVD player....yes, I was that mom and it was more than worth it. That thing is one of God's greatest gifts to our generation of mothers, I am convinced. Then, we spent several hours shopping together and eating lunch. It was great to catch up...it had been a while, and it's always refreshing to spend time with this friend. We have great conversations that always uplift, and I was so excited to hear all about her wedding plans and thoughts on her upcoming marriage. I don't think I've written about this before, but when she got engaged this past fall, she called to ask me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and I had to tell her I was pregnant (only six weeks at the time and wasn't telling anyone yet)....her wedding date is five days after my due date, and she's getting married in Maine. So that obviously won't work out! I was really sad about it. I don't think I have ever looked forward to a friend getting married as much as I do for her....she has such a passion for the Lord and a(n) (uncommon) wisdom about marriage that I think will just prepare her in ways I certainly wasn't prior to getting married. Their dating relationship has been such a mirror of God's glory, and I know their marriage will be as well. I don't know if it's just my experience...but it seems like opportunities for real excitement about people getting married (for the right reasons) just keep getting rarer. It's so sad. So I'm really celebrating this one. Anyway, it was a great day and a fun, refreshing time with a dear friend.

I hurried back home to throw my stuff together and immediately head out to our church's women's retreat for Friday night and most of the day Saturday. The topic of the weekend dealt with moving from fear to freedom, and I'll be blogging about that soon. I can hardly wait to share with you some of the things God placed on my heart during the retreat! It was also fun being there with some of the sweetest friends God has brought into my life since moving here. I got to share a cabin with some of my closest friends and we definitely shared some laughs. But it didn't seem like enough time! It seemed like good conversations got started but there wasn't enough time to finish them. I told the girls I think we need a follow-up retreat very soon...maybe at Starbucks one evening?? =)

Then, last night we hired a baby-sitter for only the third time ever, and Joel and I attended a wedding. It was good for the reasons that the groom's family is very dear to me and I loved being able to celebrate with and show my support for this couple and also because it was gorgeous!!! I so love a pretty wedding. I really wish I had taken pictures of the flower arrangements because you just wouldn't believe them. Lavishly beautiful. So I really did enjoy being there and being a part of it. But it didn't take long for the evening to go downhill just a bit. My extreme tiredness set in very quickly. Not to mention my hormonal craziness. I can't explain it, but I have started noticing that lately I have been pretty weird emotionally. Not that I'm never weird or emotional, but this is different. I don't even feel like the same me at all. I left the wedding wanting to cry, not knowing why. (Except maybe partly because we stayed at the reception for a long time and still had to leave before the cake-cutting. Wedding cake is near the top of my list of favorite things in life, so I was just a tad bitter. But that's a different story...) I really couldn't place my finger on what it was exactly that was bothering me, but you know how sometimes you just have these really high expectations of how an evening is going to go - like it's going to be all grand and glamorous - and then there is a let-down when it just ends up being normal? Well, that's how it was....enter in crazy emotional pregnant hormones. It was not pretty. Speaking of pretty, it's embarrassing to admit that that may have had something to do with it too....NOT feeling pretty. I felt unattractive, so obviously tired, and not dressed quite right for the occasion. (The dress I had planned on wearing - my only good option for maternity clothes for a wedding - got ruined an hour before the wedding. Completely ruined. So what I was forced to wear was not something I felt good in at all.) And when I got home, I took off my tall boots and my calves and ankles actually expanded past the width of my boots. And they weren't tight boots! It seemed like they were never going to stop growing outward. I have never had swelling like that before! My feet were HUGE. That has a way of making a girl feel prettier. No one else better get married before I have this baby, because I am not going. I have decided there is no need for me to attend a wedding while pregnant. It just couldn't be a good thing. Everyone will be in their beautiful cocktail dresses with strappy high heels and I'll be the very pregnant-looking one in the frumpy dress. They'll all be dancing and having a great time, and I'll be sitting down the whole time doing nothing but retaining water. Nothing good could come from putting myself through that again. And I hate to admit all this. Really. I like to think I can rise above the hormones. I mean, I do know that the Holy Spirit isn't limited during the nine months of pregnancy. But man, this is hard for me this time. The weird hormonal stuff. At this point in my pregnancy with Jonah, I was just starting to feel good physically. I had a different kind of experience where my last trimester was the one I felt the best in. So...maybe having more energy helped me not to experience the yucky emotional aspects of pregnancy as intensely...? And this time, I've really noticed a significant increase in my tiredness and lack of energy the last couple of weeks. Could that be contributing to me being this emotional basketcase right now? I mean, I'm telling you....I'm like a freak show. I've really had to apologize a lot to my husband this week....just for meanness. Nothing else. Just found myself being mean for no reason. Well, you know... for reasons like him getting a bad headache, forcing us to leave the wedding before we were able to eat cake. How dare he. Control your sickness, husband! =) Oh...I just am finding new things all the time that are making pregnancy even more interesting. And what's funny....someone who obviously doesn't know me very well asked me this weekend if I am enjoying my last months of pregnancy. Ahem. Couldn't she have used a different word than "enjoy"? It's not the word that first comes to my mind. I didn't want to lie. But I didn't have to, because a truthful answer came to mind very quickly: I am grateful for these months of pregnancy. There are things I don't enjoy but that I wouldn't trade for anything. These are signs of a life that God is growing and a blessing that He is cultivating in the life of our family, and I'll take nausea, back pain, big fat feet, weird emotional outbursts that come out of nowhere, ugly clothes....ALL of it. I'll take it all. I can't get over how blessed I am to be carrying this little girl inside of me and to be mothering this precious son of mine. What an unbelievable gift. So I will choose to praise Him for these things. But I'll need to deal with the meanness aspect. It's not good. Any thoughts about not being the wicked witch of the west when the pregnancy hormones are this high?!! They're kind of catching me off guard. Thanks for letting me be real with you about how I'm feeling right now and what struggles and insecurities have plagued me recently. It's not fun admitting them at all. But I did so that maybe just writing them will scream at me how superficial they are and I'll be disgusted with my fixation last night on the unimportant. I need to get it together. My family doesn't need to suffer through three more months of Crazy Hannah. I think they must have liked Old Hannah! Evidently, they miss her.

And I think you'll agree that God knows exactly what I need when I need it when you hear this: My husband and I will be leaving for a three day trip to Colorado this week. He'll be attending a conference while I spend lots of time reading and relaxing at the hotel. I'm hoping to have some good blogging time too. We'll also have lots of free time to spend together doing vacation-y things, and it's the refresher that I so obviously need right now. It was an unexpected trip that just came up in the last few weeks, and it's the sweetest surprise gift from the Lord. Pray for our travel and time together and for this mother's heart who is torn over leaving her son for these next few days. Satan is definitely trying to attack me with anxiety, and I'm just trying to fill my mind with truth as I prepare to get on that airplane tomorrow.

Thanks for your participation in the discussions of the last two posts. Loved it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Follow-up to the Last Post....

I just wanted to continue from where the last post left off. I so appreciate the comments left so far by two women who are already putting this whole thing into practice....the call to build relationships with nonbelievers and get out of our comfort zones so we can impact their lives for the Lord. I am grateful for their example and wisdom on the subject, and I encourage you to check out Marci's recent post on the subject and Becky's blog as I know in the past she's written some about her journey with this.

I didn't think I had anything else to say on the subject since yesterday, but I decided to tell you that I think we could have ourselves a great online discussion about this! So, please join in! I'd love to hear your thoughts. I appreciate some of the practical advice and insight given to me as to where to start....it is encouraging that God is already giving some direction, even after just one day. But I'd love to hear more!

I'll share with you some of my questions and why I feel like I'm lacking in direction. Becky touched on the reality for people in "vocational ministry" (or in it by marriage)...that we just have fewer opportunities for relationships with nonbelievers and we can often be spread so thin relationally anyway because of responsibilities in the church. Now, it is my heart - and I know it is hers as well - to not want pity for that. It isn't an excuse. God doesn't ask us to do something and not make it possible for us to do, so I don't want to run from the task...or this conviction from the Holy Spirit (butt-kicking might be more like it!). Plus, so many people are asked to give up FAR more than what I'm being asked to right now. So please don't feel like I'm complaining about the position we're in. I happen to love that this is our calling! But it is something that I need God's guidance in because I don't have any particular people in mind for these kinds of relationships....it's not like I have co-workers or my husband's co-workers as an opportunity. It's just one of those things I need Him to figure out for me. And I also love Becky's advice to frequent the same places so that you have regular encounters with the same people and build little relationships that way. I want that. I've had that before in small ways. But here's where I have questions about that: Sometimes those opportunities take a certain amount of financial resources to maintain! What I mean is that I have definitely had opportunities like that before, but I've had to give them up in order to be a good steward. I'm not that happy about giving up my regular Starbucks visits, just so you know. But it has been something I've cut back on considerably in recent months (partly due to pregnancy nausea!). Same with the gym I used to go to. We felt like it was an area we could be wiser in saving money, so now I've switched and am now at a "church" gym. Once again, surrounded by more Christians. But I know God isn't asking me to go against those convictions in order to be around more people. I'd just be spending money I shouldn't be! A lady at my church that I'm friends with has talked to me before about she gets a monthly pedicure from this girl who doesn't know the Lord and she looks forward every month to getting to share with her. Well, yeah....I wish I could get monthly spa appointments too! But that isn't an opportunity that is afforded me right now. But just so we all know....I could really spread the name of Christ if someone was making my toes prettier every month! =) Also, I've thought about joining a Mom's Club, since that's not church-related and is open to anyone. Maybe there would be someone there I'm supposed to invest in. But again, I have conviction right now about not taking on another activity like that....to add a new regular thing to the schedule would mean that my family would really suffer. I'm pretty close to that line as it is. So, that's a possibility...just for a later time, I believe. I love the idea of starting a neighborhood playgroup....if only my neighborhood had anyone under the age of 80! Seriously, every time Jonah and I have gone on walks since we moved into this house, I'm on the lookout for kids. Haven't found any yet. I once saw a little tykes play thing in someone's backyard and I went to their house. An elderly couple lived there and had that available for periodic visits from their granddaughter. So, nothing there. I am so open to building relationships with my neighbors....and I know it will come in time because I know God has us on our street for a reason. I really do sense that something will happen there someday. But for now, I don't see anyone. No one is outside. There are either elderly people who stay in their homes, making it hard to interact with, or there are the middle-aged ones who work all day. Since I'm a stay-at-home mom, my time outside being available to meet people is during the day. When everyone is getting home from work, I'm inside getting dinner started. (Actually, truth be told...I'm probably just trying to think of something to cook or some way to get out of cooking that night!) But anyway, I'm sharing all of this to explain my lack of direction. Why all of my ideas have gotten a "no" or "not right now" answer from the Lord. But I know there will be some "yes" answers. I believe it with my whole heart. He wouldn't be convicting me of this heart issue if He didn't have an opportunity in mind! I'm just anxious to know what it is. And once I do, I'll be excited to share it with you!

SO....I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share your struggle. I also hope to hear what you have learned about or experienced in overcoming this struggle. I do not think for a second that you have to be "in ministry" to feel challenged in these ways. We probably all have different obstacles to overcome with this. You may be trying to do "evangelism on a budget" or you may have an entirely different challenge. I'd love to know how you are growing past some of these "limitations." This girl would appreciate hearing your story!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Starting next week, our church will begin a new sermon series and focus for the next month, and it's based on Bill Hybels' book Just Walk Across the Room. The main point of that book is to challenge Christians to be more bold in their interactions with others, being intentional in engaging in conversation with others so that we can build relationships with them and share Christ. I don't know all to expect from this journey, but it's an area in my life that I've been very challenged in ever since we came to this church. Our church leadership is passionate about this very thing...that church isn't so much about those of us there as it is those who aren't yet there. Our senior pastor came with a passion and energy and ability to lead in the area of evangelism, and it's one of the first times in my life I've been so confronted and heavily convicted with the issue of being used to bring people to Christ.

I say that...but then I must confess that I've seen little change in this area of my life over the last year and a half that God's been challenging me on it. I haven't grown like I should. Perhaps my desire for it has grown. I do want more to see people know Christ. But not enough. My desire for it is insufficient, and that insufficiency is revealed in the lack of personal relationships I currently have with nonbelievers. I just don't have that many. That's the reality. And I was struck by this reality again this morning in church when our worship pastor starting talking about hopelessness and suffering and how the Christian life isn't all rosy but how without Jesus Christ as our rock, we have nothing. Before we sang the next few songs, he was encouraging us to sing them with a prayerful heart for those we know who are in dire situations and are barely hanging on by a thread. He was referring to those people in our lives who are desperate to know this Rock and/or be healed by Him. And this made me sad to think about.

Here's why: it took me a few seconds to think of specific people in my life that fall into that category. I'm so embarrassed by that. I drew a blank at first. I realized that I tend to think of desperate-for-God people in general terms....people who think this, people who live like that, etc. Not real people with whom my path crosses in some way. After a few moments, there were some faces who came to mind. But at that point, I was already sad. Disappointed in the reality of my relational landscape right now. Why didn't those faces flood my mind immediately when our worship pastor said that? Why did it take me a few seconds to think about who those people he described would be? Why am I not so attuned to others' needs that I am so quick to think about them and their spiritual need? Why have I not made a point to surround myself with these kinds of people? Why do I spend so much energy in cultivating comfortable, fun-for-me, safe friendships at the expense of not growing relationships with those who really need to see someone reflecting Jesus so that they might want to know Him? I just hate my answers to those questions. If I were truly living a power-filled life and exhibiting such a passionate trust in my Lord, wouldn't I attract some of those people that need Him? I've seen that in small ways before....that when you really live a certain way, intentional about using seasoned speech (Colossians 4:6) and passionate for the Lord, then you usually attract more than just other passionate people....you attract people who need Him as well. It can be exhausting actually. You have to stay sitting at the feet of Jesus, breathing in His grace and love to be able to pour it out. That's because it's not natural to be drawn to needy people. It is more natural for us to resist the needy. But we are called to (and empowered for) much more than what's natural. And engaging in relationship with those who need Him is pleasing to God. It's why we're still here....more of His fame needs to be spread. More people need to be reached by His grace, and we get to be involved. Why don't I remember that it's a blessing to be used in that way? Why do I fail to look for the neediness around me?

The Lord is confronting me once again. And I have given good reasons as to why this isn't a reality in my life...."good" in that they might make sense to some. Some Christians would probably affirm my excuses and empathize with me that it's hard to do this when your husband works for a church, you're a stay-at-home-mom, etc. But I know better. I know that the truth is I'd have those relationships and opportunities if I were pursuing them. If I really wanted it, He'd give it to me. I know that. I know that about Him.

For now, I don't sense any specific direction, so....the only place I know to start is with prayer. A real and passionate expression of desire to see what God has for me in this area. Who does He have for me to reach in this way? My eyes have been closed for so long that He'll have to open them up to the people and the needs of people around me. I'm sharing these thoughts with the internet world before I get too scared. Before I come up with more excuses as to why this is hard right now. And before it's too easy for me to just forget and walk away from this conviction.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Well, at least we're past the halfway point of the longest short month of the year!!! Does anyone else feel like this time every year, it seems that March will NEVER come?! Well, I'm starting to get optimistic that spring is just around the corner. But I confess I'm cautious about my anticipation of it. Kind of like my anticipation for the new Taco Bueno by my house that was supposed to open a year ago and once again this week, the opening date has been pushed back a couple more weeks. Ugh. I wish I could say I am overemphasizing my disappointment and despair, but I'm quite frustrated by it. Granted, food has been a very important part of my life lately. A little too important. I finally ventured out from my regular order at Schlotzsky's this week and ordered a chicken and guacamole wrap that was so amazing I actually could not stop thinking about it for that entire afternoon. Everyone I saw, I told them about the wrap. I couldn't help myself. I did draw the line on blogging about it that day, which was pointless since I am writing about it now. I'll spare you the details that I didn't spare those poor souls on Tuesday who had to hear about the wrap over and over. But anyway, I've been a little obsessed with the things I want to eat lately. I don't remember being this way as much when I was pregnant with Jonah...I think I was too sick to like food as much. Well, I like food now. A lot. And there's something wrong with the world when a girl can't just have a party burrito when she wants one. Ok, on to other things...

(Well, not yet, because there still is one more food-related picture below.)

Happy Belated Valentines Day, everyone!

If those don't look yummy enough, this little guy sure does....

Look, Brady is awake!!!Now, back to sleep. I hear he's doing a whole lot of that.

Love this picture of Maggie as the proud big sis:

And here's Blake with all three of his kiddos - Nathan, Maggie, and Brady:

Oh, I love that family. Just a few more weeks until I can see them. I know it sounds quite dramatic, but it feels like one of the longest waits of my life!! If everything goes according to everyone's plans...ahem...this is the last niece or nephew that I will ever welcome into the world, and I'm a little sentimental about it because being an aunt has been such a sweet joy in my life. I was blessed with some good aunts, and I hope I can be for these punkins what mine have been for me. My relationships with the sweet sisters of my mom's have grown even more special and deep as I've been an adult, and I am so thankful for them. It's such a gift to even be able to try to be that kind of aunt to the kids God has given me to...um..."aunt." (My way with words just gets better and better the longer I'm pregnant!) Thanks for letting me show off this new little one I'm just dying to get to know. And hold and squeeze and pinch and kiss. Watch out, Brady, I've got big plans for us when I get to Kentucky next month! Get ready for lots of cuddling.

Thanks for humoring me with my Hey Dude post. I'm so glad to know that there are some of you out there who share in my weirdness. You don't know how that comforts me! =)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Some of You Will Remember This....

I woke up the other night with this theme song running through my head. Don't ask me why. SO RANDOM! But I had totally forgotten about one of my favorite childhood tv shows....I had such a crush on Ted. Anyway, if it was one of your favorite shows as well, then I knew you'd appreciate hearing the amazing theme song. (You might be mad at me when you find it running through your head all the time...."It's a little wild and a little strange....when you make your home out on the range....") The first 35 seconds or so is weird, but then it goes to the song. Someone PLEASE tell me you liked it as much as I did. And if you have no idea what show this is, well, then, I'm sorry....you missed out. =)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weakness, Part Two

NOTE: I'm back to the land of the living. Sort of. Just coughing incessantly, but I'm up and moving around FINALLY after one really long week of the flu. But unfortunately, Jonah woke up this morning burning hot with fever. So it looks like all of our attempts at shielding him from my germs turned out to be not so successful. Hopefully, he's not in for what I had. It was BAD. I feel so sorry for him. Just trying to control his fever until tomorrow morning when I can take him to the doctor. I had started a post last Sunday and at this point, I don't really remember how I was going to finish it. But I decided to go ahead and post it below. I quickly tried to do some date editing so it would make more sense, but sorry if I missed anything. Oh, and thanks to everyone for the sweet comments, calls, emails, text messages, offers to help, etc. You've been so kind.

Guess what. Evidently, God has more for me to learn about the concept of weakness. Oh joy. No, really, it's been clear that He doesn't want me to just rush through it. He's not done with me in this area. Not even close. Our Sunday morning Bible study class we've been a part of in recent months has been studying the book of Colossians, and last Sunday we spent a considerable amount of time discussing weakness, particularly pertaining to the suffering Paul was experiencing (he was in prison at the time he was writing his encouragement to the Colossians) and the struggles his burden for them brought about. Hello! The focus on that was obviously very timely for me, as God emphasized to me, once again, how essential the attitude of humility. It hit me right where I am, convicting me once more of the necessity of personal weakness in my own life for God's glory to be showcased. We specifically looked at this part of Colossians chapter one and also looked here to remember the kind of suffering Paul was experiencing when he talked about embracing weakness in order to experience God's energy working through him. And it struck me that I need to remember to make the distinction between suffering and weakness. They often seem to come packaged together, but they are not necessarily the same thing. The kind of weakness I'm talking about is an acknowledged experience of selflessness...self-LOWness, if you will. It's a position of humility, recognizing that in and of myself, I have nothing to bring to the table, in terms of what God can work with. It's a choice to attach myself to HIS adequacy. Christa described it in class that those times of weakness are when she gets completely out of the way so that God can fully do what He has planned. Exactly! I'm being reminded over and over again that it's absolute necessary in living the Spirit-filled life. We cannot abide in Him and His power if we are relying on ourselves in any way. In ANY way. I sat there, looking at God's words and mulling over this truth when it hit me. The real conviction. I say that weakness is essential, but I try to avoid it at all costs. I want to resist it. And I certainly don't go looking for it. But if I really believe what the Bible says is true about it, shouldn't I be pursuing weakness? I'm not talking about pursuing suffering and hardship and difficult circumstances. Though they often accompany lessons-in-weakness, they don't always have to. I'm talking about pursuing that heart-position of weakness. Making an intentional effort to become less. I must confess, my heart is convicted. And I have a new personal challenge straight from God's heart: I want to wake up every day and choose to empty myself of me. And I know this: Only you, God, can create that in me. On my own, I don't have the teeniest bit of desire to motivate me on that journey.

And all this reminds me of something else....

It's it funny how God often speaks to us about the same issue from a variety of sources all round the same time? There are times when everywhere we turn, we're hit by the same message. Strange! It's almost like....(gasp!) someone planned it that way! Like we were meant to receive that message!

Sometimes I think God has to be laughing at me.I wonder what He really thinks when I get surprised by things like that. I imagine His response to those kinds of realizations...thinking, "Oh, Hannah...why are you surprised when I do things like that? If I tell you where to position yourself, don't you think I have a purpose in mind?!!"

It's just so funny how slow I am to get that sometimes. His instruction about learning is so clear...He emphasizes the importance of pursuing wisdom, searching for Truth, and being participants in the local "body" of Christ to which we belong. Yet, I am surprised by the recognition of how He orchestrates the messages given me when I place myself in the positions He's called me to. When I'm sitting under the teaching He has reserved for me in my church, OF COURSE I am going to hear personally-tailored messages from God. It's going to get very real and very personal between me and Him. When I make myself available to the teachings and experiences offered to me via the spiritual "authorities" in my life, I can't miss the fact that God has specific things to show me....things that correspond with the other things He's showing me! I know these realizations of orchestrated messages delight the heart, but I'm tired of realizing this over and over like it's something new, something that surprises me. I want it to just be a normal way of life for me. Something I just come to expect from Him. A certainty that He always
shows up where He tells me to be to find Him and that He always has something new to do in my heart. I really want to learn this and stop forgetting. It's crazy how many things like this He's done lately, weaving together various experiences to make one big point to me. And I know He wants this for me more of the time, so HE can direct my growth and I'm not depending solely on what I want to learn from Him. It's true we can selectively grow, isn't it? Well, I'm thinking I've been wrong about that all along. He wants to lead me and bring my attention to what He wants me to see and deal with, not just what's more convenient for me to address at the time. That's real growth. That's when it gets so personal and intimate with Him. A close dance. One where He leads and I follow. He just tells me where to be and then I just follow. Oh, why don't I follow His lead more?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm an Aunt Again!!!

And...it's a BOY!!!!!!!

Meet Brady Kyle Luce

This precious little guy came in a hurry last night! He wasn't due for three more weeks. In fact, Amy was scheduled for an induction on the 21st, but at 10:00pm last night, Amy came down to tell Blake she was having contractions. They made it to the hospital by 10:25 and he entered the world at 11:25pm! Yep, all that in an hour and a half! She'd had no signs of labor, but she got hit with the stomach virus yesterday and was throwing up sick all day. Evidently, stomach viruses can make you go into labor! Who knew!?! She was so dehydrated...I can't imagine what it felt like to go into labor while that weak (and still throwing up!), but she is a strong woman!!! They're all doing well. I can't believe he's here!

I'm feeling a little cocky about my gender-prediction track record (for other people, of course)....one more to add to the Win column! =)

Oh, nephews are so much fun! Sweet Brady, I can't wait to meet you and squeeze those puffy cheeks and give you lots of kisses!!!

Well, this has been my bright spot in the middle of a week of the flu. I haven't really been out of bed since Sunday night, and I only opened the computer for a second to announce to the world the birth of baby Brady. It's back to bed for me, and when I'm well again, I'm sure you'll hear and see lots more of this little guy!